2018 NFL Draft Sleepers
We are now just 15 days until the NFL Draft and those days can’t possibly pass quickly enough. Perhaps you are just now taking a look at your team’s needs and their options in this draft. Or maybe you have been following closely along the entire off-season. Either way, it is always fun to dream on the entirety of your team’s draft, and while Mock Drafts cover the first round, and occasionally second round, fans are left wondering who they should hope their team selects after that. Today, I’ll tell you about six players who can help your NFL team and are also dynasty league sleepers that I love this year.
(#6) Dalton Schultz (TE – Stanford)
While tight ends rarely contribute in a big way as rookies, this year’s draft class could produce five TE1s for dynasty leagues. Dalton has been overshadowed by what many believe to be the clear-cut top four of Hayden Hurst, Mike Gesicki, Dallas Goedert and Mark Andrews, but from what I’ve seen on film, Schultz has a chance to be the best of them all in fantasy football. Don’t hear me wrong, I’d much rather have Hurst and especially Goedert, but Schultz should be an absolute steal on the second day of the draft. Dalton was a disappointment at the combine and is light for a tight end, but he is quick for a tall receiver. Most importantly, he has a good head on his shoulders and is likely the top route-runner in the class. Schultz has reliable hands and should provide enough in terms of blocking to find a way on the field soon. If he ends up in the right situation, we could see him turn into a reception magnet.
(#5) James Washington (WR – Oklahoma State)
Much like Schultz above, Washington’s dynasty stock will be dependent on where he lands. His skill-set fits a particular brand of football and would be somewhat of a waste in other offenses. There are five receivers (Calvin Ridley, D.J. Moore, Courtland Sutton, Christian Kirk, D.J. Chark) who should go within the first 50 picks, but after that, Washington and another handful of prospects are toss-ups to go as the sixth wideout in the draft. My wager, however, is that the Patriots will make it a priority to add him to their offense as a future Brandin Cooks replacement. He is an ideal fit for what Belichick and Brady like to do through the air, and while he won’t receive for over 1,000 yards like Cooks, Washington is polished enough to make a play for the starting lineup even as a rookie. He is short and not especially quick, but he’s got the speed to stretch a defense and finds the seems in a defense as well as anyone in this draft class.
(#4) Alex McGough (QB – Florida International)
This is the first big-time sleeper that you have likely never heard of. Schultz and Washington should be selected in the 3rd or 4th round while McGough is no guarantee to even be drafted. Obviously he doesn’t belong in the conversation with the five quarterbacks that will likely be selected in the first round, but McGough has a big arm and is athletic enough to make a career in this league. Whether a coaching staff will be able to turn him into a franchise quarterback is another question, but after Kyle Lauletta, who should be drafted in the 2nd or 3rd round, McGough may be the only one with the potential to ever become that type of player.
(#3) Rashaad Penny (RB – San Diego State)
Now here is a more familiar name if you’ve paid any attention. Penny’s stock has blown up of late so he may not be a sleeper much longer to the general public, but he isn’t considered a top five running back by the consensus so I’ll still count him. Penny’s pass blocking is suspect and NFL teams expect him to require some development before he can be relied on. Outside of that, he is everything you’d want in a back. He’s got a big body, plus speed that can break long carries, he runs through contact, plus he can contribute both as a receiver and on the goal-line. In two or three seasons, it should surprise no one if Penny ends up the second-best fantasy running back from this class. Don’t bank on it, but the potential is there without question.
(#2) Royce Freeman (RB – Oregon)
Let’s start this out with a bang: Freeman is a similar athlete to Le’Veon Bell. His other combine comparables are Eddie Lacy, Larry Johnson and Jordan Howard. While that trio may not have ended well, each has been a week-in-week-out RB1 at some point. Freeman is 230 pounds with more than sufficient speed. He will never be half the receiver Bell is, but he’s got quality hands and can be a work-horse should an NFL team give him the chance at some point. Freeman is expected to be drafted in the 3rd or 4th round, but then again, so was Le’Veon until the Steelers “reached” for him in the 2nd round. Perhaps the same will happen with Freeman in this year’s draft.
(#1) Antonio Callaway (WR – Florida)
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Every expert in the industry is shouting his name as the top sleeper in the NFL Draft. Like Tyreek Hill and many before him, Callaway’s stock is where it is because of significant off-the-field concerns. As it stands now, Callaway is facing felony charges and NFL teams are worried he may fail drug tests. If he can stay out of legal trouble and stay clean, we’ve potentially got the best receiver in the draft class. He is an excellent athlete with top-notch hands and is worth drafting in your dynasty leagues just on the raw-talent alone.